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Not by the Book - Gaelic Studies 11 learns through highland games lesson plan

LAWRENCETOWN - It takes strength, skill, and a bit of finesse to throw a 42-pound hunk of metal 13 feet into the air. Anthony Daniels can do it.  

Mason Smith can throw a heavy hammer more than 69 feet. Daniels is good for more than 67 feet, Spencer Wade can make it go 64 feet, and Bailey Dowell can throw that same hammer almost 62 feet. She can chuck 29 pounds 13 feet in the air.

They were among 11 students from four Annapolis Valley high schools taking part in the third annual Lawrencetown Education Centre Highland Gathering May 31 in Lawrencetown.

The event is developed and hosted by LEC’s Gaelic Studies 11 Class, taught by Dave Ross. Principal Jamie Peppard holds the microphone and does a running commentary, and teachers from other schools help out in various capacities, such as score keeping, measuring distances, and lugging things.

Peppard said a lot of things come together to make the entire day a positive experience and a memorable lesson. It might not all be ‘textbook,’ but it won’t be something students forget. Experiential learning is a Hallmark of LEC, and a component of its success.


Games Event

“What they do is they get together and develop a Highland Games event,” said Peppard. “We do a clinic of throwing in the morning. Trish Bruce comes in and puts on Scottish fare – that includes haggis – so all the athletes and teachers that support them get to come in and have a big meal, and then they come out in the afternoon and they put the kilts on – happily.”

And then the contest begins.

“We threw five events today and you can see that the athletes did very well,” Peppard said. “The clinic pays off. They learn how to throw and they come out and each one of their throws is usually is a little bit farther than the last.”

This year, besides LEC students, competitors came from West Kings, Bridgetown and Middleton.

“The reason we support this is event, it not only allows students in the Gaelic Studies 11 Class to meet outcomes, it gives them a chance to interact with students from the feeder schools.”

And with pride, present and host a first-class event,” he said.


Great Time

"The students that come, they all have a great time. They get exposed to something new,” said Peppard. “It’s a very alternative activity. And for most of the kids that come from other schools, they’re not representing their schools in other sports. They’re picked by their teacher maybe because they aren’t involved in other sports.”

He said they get to take a day off school, represent their school and come and enjoy comradery and some Scottish heritage.

“So it’s important to us to continue to get the chance to host these events – it’s important for Scottish heritage, but I really think it’s most important just for the student engagement. They look forward to setting this event up. The students from other schools look forward to coming down and competing. As far as I can see it will be part of our school year every year for years to come.”

He said sense of accomplishment and positive self-esteem is a huge part of the day.

“Self esteem is one of those things where you need to have some success in order to establish it and build it, and the fact that the kids are given some advance notice and taught a few things during the clinic in the morning leads them to be successful. For the three years that we’ve held this, the students – it’s had a very positive impact on them.”

Students from four Annapolis Valley high schools took part in the third annual Highland Gathering May 31 at Lawrencetown Education Centre. They learned games events at a clinic in the morning and competed in the afternoon. Here they pose with the caber. The event is hosted by the LEC Gaelic Studies 11 class taught by Dave Ross.

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